replacement for naim nait 5i-2

Hi

I have been running with the Naim nait 5i-2 ( supported by a sealed subwoofer - for the low end ) quite satisfactorily for 4 years now.

My speakers are stand mount 2 way sealed type and 87dB sensitive and i feel they could use more juice ( head room ) and more control and this will help the speakers perform at their optimum.

Like most of us - i have been contemplating a change but i find that its very hard to get real value at a price approaching GBP 1500

My options are :- ( all pre loved )

a. Naim Xs-2

b. Naim XS ( 60W ) ( older one )

c. NAC 202 + NAP 200

d, If i stretch - then an SN2

e. Non Naim options - are not mentioned here

f, Naim Nait 5si

My source is a Philips CD 750 and a Technics SL1210 TT and i do have a decent collection on CD and vinyl.

I am aware a Naim source would be nice . i do not want to do down the DAC route or the streaming route.

It has been my bad luck that Naim Cd5XS i had trouble with and i had to give it away.

I would like to keep my gear for 4 years atleast and the MERLIN speakers are here to stay.

No negotiating on that :-)

Which of the above options would be best value - preferably without getting into the power supply and multiple boxes game ?

I am aware my budget is not very much but thats what i can afford at the moment. 

The plus point with Naim Nait 5i-2 is its re-sale value - which is excellent and i dont know if the Naim XS would command a similar value.

Sometimes i feel like storing the Naim Nait 5i-2 away - save it for the day when i am old and live in a smaller home with my music 

:-))

regards

mpw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live long and prosper.

Original Post

From you shortlist, a 202/200 would be great, but if you get one within your budget, it's likely to be old enough to need a recap/service. So you would need to budget for that, and find a service agent who can do it. Also, it will show up the limitations of a weaker source more than a cheapr amp, and it will be more sensitive to setup, meaning that a decent rack to put it on, and quality interconnects, become increasingly important.

 If those issues sound like something you can address, get it and you will not be disappointed. Otherwise, sticking with a newer integrated amp is a much safer bet.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you're listening to a circa 25-year-old DAC in your CDP? There is a plethora of options from the current millennium that should outperform it for little cost. Then you can donate your 750 to the local thrift shop and move on with your other considerations.

joerand

Circa 25 year old dac it may be - but i like the sound from it and i am looking for its big brother the CD960.

Moderns dacs - are a hit and miss for me.

I have plans for the CD750 - pack it up and retain as a standby player as i do not see myself using the computer route for music at all.

regards

 

Gavin B posted:

A home demo of one of your amp options (if possible) might help identify whether a 'better' amp improves matters, or whether you need to focus on improving your source(s).

gavinB

Thank you. Thats a good point you make.

But - the only option in Naim brand for home demo is the SN2 and i suspect that will really expose the source and everything else and send me into a loop with exit at infinity 

ChrisSU posted:

From you shortlist, a 202/200 would be great, but if you get one within your budget, it's likely to be old enough to need a recap/service. So you would need to budget for that, and find a service agent who can do it. Also, it will show up the limitations of a weaker source more than a cheapr amp, and it will be more sensitive to setup, meaning that a decent rack to put it on, and quality interconnects, become increasingly important.

 If those issues sound like something you can address, get it and you will not be disappointed. Otherwise, sticking with a newer integrated amp is a much safer bet.

Chris

Thank you for highlighting the obstacles along the road. Appreciate.

Newer integrated could have the same issues you mention ( except the recapping etc.. )

regards

A few of the old Philips cdp used the legendary Philips TDA 1541 dac chip, but the cd 750 doesn't. 

This chip is still used today in many very high end cdp.  

Although the cd 750 does have a digital output, so a SN1 could be an option as this has digital inputs which will give the Philips a new lease of life.

b_lund posted:

Exactly

Most people making the mistake buying new amp helps anything

It doesnt

Get the source fixed first, second and third, is that hard to understand ?

B_Lund

That implies - 50W is enough for the Merlin ??

That also implies - amps with better control section - will add less value than a source change.

Assume - that i changed my CDP to a CD960 ( i have beel looking on ebay for this ).... what would your recommendation be ??

and - i do run a SL1210 TT with a stock arm, a DL103 and a Lehmann Audio SE2 PWX phono stage.... is this a good enough source ??

I do see what you are pointing to and i hope you see where i am looking at.

Hi MPW, I had a similar dilemma and set off to replace my Myst tma3 amp (1987) which was fed by Marantz 6000 SE KI and Rega Planar 3 into Castle Yorks. I tried several amps including Naim 152/155 XS and they all made my system sound worse. By chance at my Naim dealer we tried the CD5 XS into my old amp and speakers and it was a revelation. I didn't end up with that as I ultimately expanded my search and chose to go streaming with ND5 XS into my old gear.

As a bonus I was able to use the optical out from my old CD player into the ND5 and achieve a much better CD SQ than previously. So I would agree with other posts to consider upgrading the source first even if this means just inserting a DAC between your existing CDP and amp as a trial.

I am not suggesting my old amp is better than the Naim ones I tried, but that they were too good for my source and disrupted synergy. I still ultimately intend to change my amp in time.

Best, Mike

Mike1960 posted:

Hi MPW, I had a similar dilemma and set off to replace my Myst tma3 amp (1987) which was fed by Marantz 6000 SE KI and Rega Planar 3 into Castle Yorks. I tried several amps including Naim 152/155 XS and they all made my system sound worse. By chance at my Naim dealer we tried the CD5 XS into my old amp and speakers and it was a revelation. I didn't end up with that as I ultimately expanded my search and chose to go streaming with ND5 XS into my old gear.

As a bonus I was able to use the optical out from my old CD player into the ND5 and achieve a much better CD SQ than previously. So I would agree with other posts to consider upgrading the source first even if this means just inserting a DAC between your existing CDP and amp as a trial.

I am not suggesting my old amp is better than the Naim ones I tried, but that they were too good for my source and disrupted synergy. I still ultimately intend to change my amp in time.

Best, Mike

MIke1960

Thank you for your kind response. Quite informative.

a. I do have an option of trying out a Metrum Octave NOS ( non USB - version 1 ) DAC if the seller allows a home trial. The other option is a Philips CD960 - which i have been lusting after for a while now.

b. At the same time i think its better to have the CD player with a good dac. If i add an external dac then again i will need a cable from the CDP to the external DAC and from the DAC to the amp. The chain will increase and will defeat the purpose of small compact chain.

Note : For 2 years i did have a Naim CD5XS - which i had to sadly sell - due to recurring technical issues and associated costs in repairing it.

Please comment

regards

 

 

 

TOBYJUG posted:

If your lusting after a Philips cd960 because of that TDA 1541chip and associated sound there are plenty of other players out in the wild. Naims early cdp had this chip installed. Could be worth looking that up, For similar prices.

tobyjug

 

that... and the CDM 1 transport on the CD960

Hi. As one of the above posters said, you should have the first gen Supernait, as you upgrade both your amp and your cdp (with the Supernait's DAC) - if your cdp has a digital out (or you could get whatever cheap bluray player for cd spin duties). This option also keeps the interconnect and box count down. Other then that, of course nac202 + nap200 is the biggest upgrade. If you can, try to audition, as all those amps sound pretty different from one another.

SN1 is very hard to get here in India.

I wonder if many of you have heard the Philips CD750 and i can tell you its not something that is trashed easily. It can be bettered for sure but its a good player in itself ( atleast i like it )

certainly - i can travel and audition but the thing is - i will be listening to the setup and no to the amp alone.

Therefore there is no guarantee that unless i take my speakers with and source with me - i would like the amp in my home

regards

Well, if an SN1 pops up in your market, you are likely to get it under or close to GBP 1500. This gives you the option to continue using your Philips CDP, or use the internal Dac of the SN1. The SN1 Dac is so-so. OK for random listening, internet radio, Spotify, TV etc ... but I have a Naim AV2 and Dragonfly Black Dac as well and they are better. Once you get a SN1, you can always decide to add a Chord Mojo Dac or similar to the setup. I know, you dont fancy that, but the Dac is pretty small and can easily be hidden.

There are quite some recent testimonies on this forum about the SN1. Personally, I think it fits your picture best and maybe it pops up and a bit of patience is all you need now.

If you don't want multiple boxes and power supplies, the pre-power boxes from Naim are out.

FWIW I compared the older Rega Elicit Mk2 (now the Elicit-R Mk3) to a bare Naim Nait XS. The differences are marginal at best with the Elicit sounding a touch sweeter and lusher. If you want an appreciable (or different) experience, you need to take a larger leap if staying within Naim. Upgrading from your Nait 5i-2 to the Nait 5si may not give you much, or anything at all. If considering another Naim, you need the Nait XS as a minimum.


ryder. posted:

If you don't want multiple boxes and power supplies, the pre-power boxes from Naim are out.

An external PSU with a 202/200 is by no means essential in my books. Of course it sounds better with a Hicap - as ever, if you spend more money, you can get better results, but I think there are plenty of 2 box Naim amps out there making people happy. If the OP is trawling the used market, I wouldn't rule out a 152/155 either.

ChrisSU posted:

An external PSU with a 202/200 is by no means essential in my books. Of course it sounds better with a Hicap - as ever, if you spend more money, you can get better results, but I think there are plenty of 2 box Naim amps out there making people happy. If the OP is trawling the used market, I wouldn't rule out a 152/155 either.

Yes, i cannot disagree with that. It just happens that i read about the OP wanting to avoid multiple boxes if possible, implying that a one-box integrated is a better solution than a two-box preamp and power amp setup. Having listened to the Nait XS in my system, i would pick the 202/200 over it any time of the day. The funny thing is i haven't tried listening to the 202/200 bare as the power supply was always hooked up to the amps.

 

 

Reading this I get the OP has decided and looking for validation.  The replies are all in line with logic and current HiFi thinking, but I sense emotion here which comes across a bit as justifying why the guidance cannot be followed.  So rather than offer further advice along similar lines, may I come at this differently and suggest some reflection on what you are trying to achieve in music reproduction terms rather than equipment terms?

Judge,

Emotion - yes - it is a factor with my Merlin speakers.

I have no hesitation in admitting i love them as i had a wonderful interaction with Bobby Palkovic - who passed on in Aug 2015. His memories remain here with me as with other Merlin owners around the globe.

Sentimental - yes.... but.... out of my mind  - No

:-))

These are wonderful sounding speakers which never got commercially famous.

What i am trying to achieve is this :-

The Merlin TSM MMM are sealed box speakers and i think the Naim nait 5i-2 runs out of juice at above 10 o clock position. I am looking to have an amplifier which is just as exciting as the Naim nait 5i-2 with an addtional 30W-40W to provide more headroom and maybe more control.

Possibly that will help in reducing the volume and give better output at lower volume levels.

The sealed subwoofer build was an effort in that direction and it may be possible i may need to think of another one. But i need to know if i have maxxed out on the Merlin TSM first.

regards

mpw

 

I struggled to move on from nait 5i-2 and am very fond of amp. 2nd time of trying nait xs (60w) with added powerline and then FC2x made all the difference and find very satisfactory now. Music gained bite and came alive for me with some of the 5i-2 magic + a lot more to boot.

As to if this provides enough for your Merlin speakers / sounds exciting enough will be difficult to confirm.

I can say I am very pleased having moved on now but for me required the extras to make the change worthwhile.

 

Evil Weasel

One of the beautiful things about the Naim Nait 5i-2 is that the replacement has a big shoes to fill and that  makes the search a bit more complicated.

Happy - you found the amp that rocks your boat.

BTW - which speakers do you use and whats the room size like ?

Before I got my first Naim system, I was using a 25-year old Quad 303 from my university days (I still own it). I replaced the source and speakers with a CD5 and a pair of SL2s. Wow! Later I switched to an ND5 XS. Again, a marked improvement by upgrading the source. Next I sent the Quad into semi-retirement and added a Nait XS 2. The Quad had done an amazing job but the younger XS 2 was obviously in a different class. I use it still and I still love it. Recently I exchanged the ND5 XS for an NDX and there was another massive improvement. At the moment I am experimenting with a Chord Mojo but I am very happy with the NDX/Nait XS 2/SL2 combination. I am a big fan of the XS 2 amp. I preferred it to the SN when I compared it initially. So IMHO when you're good with your source I think the XS 2 will make you very happy.

Hi there,

the RE-R was home yesterday and we had a go at it for about 3 hours in toto.

We used the Naim naca5 as speaker cables. This despite the dealer being informed beforehand to get speaker cables which fit the back panel of the more powerful R amp..

The RE-R is a very powerful heavy amplifier and built very well and i am sure it will work well with a range of speakers. This is no dis-credit to the R but i guess my exceedingly strong speaker preferences also come into play here.

We played with interconnects as well and i could first hand experience changes in sound in the same track - presented by a different amplifier or a different interconnect.

It is back in its packing and the dealer will look for a new home for it.

I find now that increasing power really isnt everything...rather is about how the speakers demand power delivery from the amplifier and how the amplifier delivers them.

The Naim Nait 5i-2 was very foot tapping ( with the Merlin TSM ) and thats what i liked. It may not be very perfect analysis of music like other powerful amplifiers but i need the ability to grab the rhythm of the music and make me tap my feet.

On Tuesday i will be auditioning another British 55W amp... ( but at a dealers place ).

The li'l Green eyed monster lives to fight another day

Note : We played mostly records and the CD750 came in towards the end and acquitted itself quite well. May not be the best ...but very nice...

Note2 : I might have a smidgen more liking to belt drive TT as compared to the direct drive TT... i regret selling my Technics SL23 specially modified stock arm fitted with DL103.

regards

Hello

before this thread sinks to the bottom ..... i thoought i would update it and let go.

Yesterday i did listen to the Sonneteer Alabaster at a dealers. I liked the build and the simplicity of the design and the sound as well.

I preferred to pair it with Epos Epic 5 floor standers.

It is a very good amp and i would have bought it was i at the start of my audio journey. I fact it would be a very tough choice with the Naim Nait 5i-2 or maybe even the XS.

I did also listen to the Cayin A100T - an 80W tube amp and that was something special - though not in my price range.

I was also not too pleased to feel the heat around the tube amp and i have kids at home and besides... i will have to save for a couple of years more.

So i am back to being with Naim nait 5i-2 and the rest of the puppies.

Coming home ( and being relieved of all other attractions ) is a good feeling.



Thanks to all the folks who chipped in.

This is certainly not the end of the journey or the end of my questions..

:-))

Best
mpw

Much luck with your green- & single eyed monster. Hopefully it forgives you your journeys to be reconsidered and keeps pleasing you with good music.

I understand what you have decided. I've been to audio shops many times and did hear nice stuff, but not that extra thing you need to actually buy it.

My single green eyed monster is called upon to forgive me once again as i have a Jolida 302CRC 50W EL34 tube amp on a loaner for 10 days.

This is my first dig at "tube sound" .

I will know where i stand once i put back the Naim Nait 5i-2 back after 10 days.

In the meantime, i indulged in a Philips CD960 CD player and i think hope it will be a nice upgrade in terms of digging and sending more musical information from my CD collection to my amp.

regards

Brubacca posted:

Good luck with the Jolida.  The sonic character of the el34 is to be a bit bass weak.  Amazing midrange though.  To me that tube is the opposite of the Naim sound.  I'll be interested to hear what you think.  

brubacca

thanks.

i wont call it bass weak but after the fast pace of the naim nait 5i-2 - once can say its a touch slow.

This works to its advantage in certain types of music where it feels more fleshed out.

My speakers are feeling the - tube kick and responding with a much sweeter mid-range especially in the vocals area. On some tracks - its goose pimples time.

I am not saying EL34 tube amp i have on loan is perfect or better than Naim nait 5i-2 - each brings its own strengths to the table.

Ultimately its a question of compromise and sacrifice.

The Naim nait 5i-2 while being fast is does not flesh out the music as much as the tube amp does.

OTOH - i wish the tube amp was about 5% faster in pace and ran less hot than it does.

Such is life..

regards

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